Nadia Anderson is an astrologer and filmmaker.

Nadia has a BA in Greek Classics from the University of Oregon and a Master of Humanities from New York University, with a focus on comparative literature and philosophy. She has studied traditional astrology extensively with Demetra George, completing a 3-year certification course in Hellenistic Astrology. She has also studied astrological magic and horary astrology with Nina Gryphon.

Nadia’s current area of astrological research is the ancient tradition of “drawing down the moon”, and its connection to Babylonian omen astrology, astrological magic, and Hellenistic astrology. She has written two articles on the Greek historical figure Aglaonicê, possibly one of the earliest mentions of a female astronomer to have survived in historical records.

Babylonian cylinder seal from Akkad period, 2340 B.C. to 2150 B.C. Image Credit: Pierpont Morgan Library. Morgan Seal 245.


Essay Overview: Manilius begins the Astronomica with a beautiful image: “through the magic of song” he will “draw down the knowledge of the stars.” The result of this endeavor is of course the Astronomica, the earliest (mostly) complete account of the Hellenistic astrological tradition that we posses. In this essay I look closely at the language Manilius uses in the opening lines of his poem, showing that his imagery is a direct allusion to a mysterious practice of drawing down the moon. I begin by contextualizing Manilius’ poetic imagery within a broad survey of the term in Greek and Latin classical literature, in order to develop a better sense of the astral magic act described by drawing down the moon.

In the second part of this essay I discuss the historical figure Aglaonicê of Thessaly, who was renowned in classical times for her ability to predict eclipse times and draw down the moon. Exploring this material, I ask two related questions. Do these classical references to drawing down the moon provide evidence of astrological practices in Greece, even before the development of Hellenistic astrology? How might this enrich our understanding of the early development of the Hellenistic tradition?

Download Essay Here

Greek silver coin featuring ceremonial tripod (obverse) and 3 crescent moons (reverse). Minted in Croton/Italy, early 4th century BC. Image Credit: © The Trustees of the British Museum.


Essay Overview:The Greek philosopher Plutarch (c. 46 CE), in his essay De Defectu Oraculorum, describes a Greek astronomer named Aglaonicê of Thessaly. Plutarch tells us that Aglaonicê used her understanding of astronomy to predict the times of lunar eclipses, and that she used this knowledge to astound spectators, pretending to bring about these lunar eclipses through ritual. While the details of Aglaonicê's life have been almost entirely erased from history, there are more general references to the women of Thessaly “drawing down the moon” as far back as the 5th century BCE.

One of the reasons that this Thessalian reputation of eclipse prediction is so surprising is that there are no other records of eclipse prediction in Greece during the 5th century. If Aglaonicê - or any other fifth-century observational astronomer - wanted to accurately predict eclipse times, what might their methodology have been? In order to answer this question, this essay examines the historical evidence of eclipse prediction techniques developing in Mesopotamia and Greece during the last millennium BC.

Download Essay Here

"No different stars did our ancestors see, no different stars will future generations behold."

- Manilius, Astronomia

Image taken at the Harvard Observatory, on July 24, 1952.

Email me ✨